Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.